Kupwara: The cross-border drug smuggling and the smuggling of drugs within north Kashmir’s Kupwara district has been a massive challenge for the security forces to deal with.
However, Police with proper tactics have been at the forefront to tackle and contain the spread of drugs in the district.
Drug peddling has also been a major concern for the local population with several youth across the district dying of a drug overdose in the last few years.
They seem to be apprehensive about their kids, especially the teenagers.
The people of the district want to see a drug-free society and have been cooperating with the law enforcing agencies for eradicating this menace.
According to Police, during the year 2022, 119 persons involved in drug smuggling have been arrested in Kupwara Police district.
“A total of 78 cases were registered while over 50 kg contraband substances including heroin, brown sugar, and charas was seized from the possession of the apprehended persons,” Police said. “A total of 6.5 kg brown sugar, 20.5 kg heroin, 26.5 kg charas and 450 bottles of codeine have also been seized.”
According to Police, 26 persons found repeatedly involved in drug peddling were detained under the Public safety Act (PSA) while seven persons involved in narco-terrorism were also slapped with PSA.
“Arms and ammunition including eight AK-47 rifles, two pistols, two IEDs, and four grenades were recovered from the persons involved in narco-terrorism,” Police said.
In Handwara Police district, 64 persons were arrested in the year 2022 and 44 cases regarding the seizure of drugs were registered at different police stations of Handwara Police district.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Kupwara, Yougal Manhas said narco-terrorism was a challenge for the security agencies.
“The enemies of peace on the other side of the border every now and then try to push narcotics and arms to this side so that the amount generated from the sale of narcotics and arms could be utilised in anti-national activities,” he said. “As Kupwara is close to the LoC, chances of narcotic smuggling are high. However, security forces are always on high alert to thwart any attempt of smuggling.”
Manhas said that Police had not only been tough on persons involved in drug trade but concrete steps regarding rehabilitation of several drug addicts were also taken following which they were now living a normal life.
“Over a period of time drug addicts have understood that they were being misused by the enemies of peace to carry out anti-national activities and things are getting better by each passing day,” he said.
According to a district health and mental official, 15 drug addicts were undergoing treatment at the Mental Health Unit, Handwara and Drug De-addiction Centre, Kupwara since September. “One among the 15 was a chronic drug addict and was referred to the Addiction Treatment Facility (ATF) at Government Medical College Baramulla,” he said.
President of Shariah Board Handwara, Mufti Syed Muhammad Ahsraf Qasmi told Greater Kashmir that parents needed to keep a close vigil on their children.
He said that certain students studying in different educational institutions bunk classes and waste their time by sitting in different parks and restaurants.
“I have received complaints from several educational institutions that the students instead of coming to schools and colleges roam in different markets. It is the primary duty of the parents to see whether their children, after leaving for studies in the morning, actually take classes or not,” Mufti Qasmi said.
Consultant Medicine Dr Nazir Ahmad Dar said that drug addiction was growing at an alarming rate and the need of the hour was to contain it.
He said that drug abuse had left many families devastated as they have lost their dear ones to drug addiction.
“Teenagers confining themselves in separate rooms should be a great concern for the parents. In most cases, drug addicts don’t even take food at the proper time,” he said.
A social activist from Handwara, Muhammad Iqbal Dar said that the primary responsibility of the children lies on parents.
“I believe that teachers and society have a secondary role to play in eradicating the drug menace. Imams and Ulemas can also play their part,” he said.